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[Ottawa – April 29, 2011] – In what would have been unthinkable at the outset of this campaign, the Canadian political landscape is being profoundly reshaped in ways that are still unclear. What is clear is that Canadians are opting for dramatic change on May 2nd. The Conservatives remain stuck at 34.5 points, well short of the majority that they insisted was essential to ward off the adventure of an untested coalition. The NDP, who began the campaign at a scant 14 points, have now more than doubled their support and at 29.7% and are breathing down the necks of the stalled Conservative Party. The hapless Liberal Party, meanwhile, is in full collapse having achieved yet another historical nadir at 20.0%. A very soft Green Party is at 6.9% and is available for the picking. The Bloc Quebecois remains stuck at 26.2% in Quebec and will be dramatically humbled in the next Parliament.

While the Conservatives are hanging on to a strong lead in Ontario, with a newly split NDP/Liberal saw off, and continuing to enjoy a commitment advantage from a loyal base who are circling the wagons, it is increasingly an obscure likelihood that they will achieve success in this campaign. The NDP vote has stiffened and still has room to grow. When we look at only those who are certain to vote, the Conservatives are at 35.5% but NDP vote resolve has risen and they are now very close behind at 30.6%. These numbers leave lots of political machinations open and the uncertainty in Ontario leaves the question of whether the NDP and the Liberals combined will reach the magic number of 155 seats.

The NDP now have significant strength in British Columbia, and have risen sharply to tie the Liberals in Ontario. They have a huge lead in Quebec and are tied for the lead in the Atlantic. The Conservatives are strong in the west and, due to a newly split NDP and Liberal vote in Ontario, have a 12-point advantage over the Liberals and the closing NDP. The Conservatives are in serious trouble in Quebec and are locked in very tight three-way races in the Atlantic provinces. The Liberals are in retreat everywhere and what dwindling hopes they have lie in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. Overall, the public judgement of the Liberal Party has been unremittingly harsh.

There are very clear fault lines but also evidence of a potential consensus. While the Conservatives remain very strong with older Canadians and males, the NDP are showing strong connection with the Gen X and Gen Y, where they now lead. The NDP have also seized much of the university-educated vote from the Liberals and have significant representation in all regions and demographic groups, outside of over 65 voters who are the lynchpin of Conservative support.

In the end, there is no question that we are witnessing a dramatic transformation of what has been a log jammed political landscape. The only real question remaining is whether or not the new leader of the opposition will have the moral authority to claim the office of Prime Minister and government with the support of the hobbled Liberal Party. The two keys to that question are voter turnout of under 45 Canada and how Ontario settles in this momentous campaign. The answers to these questions will lie in the weekend deliberations of a newly engaged electorate.

Click here for the full report: full_report_april_29_2011


  • David Stinson

    Interesting article. Have a look at where NPD and Liberals are in contention with each other across Canada. My prediction: huge vote split factor between those two parties. Ad to that the Liberals that will “hold their noses” and vote Conservative and we will likely end up with the following; Conservative – 168 seats; NDP-72; Liberals-51; Bloc-15; Indep-2; Green-0
    Conservative majority. . . and we’ll all wonder what just happened!

  • Gaile Whelan Enns

    I cannot find the information as to which kind of poll you conducted. Was this by phone?
    When was it taken ?
    What is the % for error – the potential variance in the poll ?

  • marcello

    “Ad(d) to that the Liberals that will “hold their noses” and vote Conservative ”

    Really, which Liberals ? what if any indication is there about Liberals flocking to the COns ?
    How about the Liberals who hold their noses and vote NDP. who are much closer to them politically than the Cons.

    168 seats with 35% of the vote ? dream on.

  • Naveed

    Yes I have to say that the notion of Liberals voting Conservative in sufficient numbers to turn the result to a Conservative majority—-is franky nonsense.

    Very few Liberals are not turned off by the right wing ideology of Stephen Harper and his Conservatives, not to mention the anti-democratic and secretive government run by the Tories in the past two minority governments. Very few, if any Liberals will go Conservative in this election.
    On the otherhand some seem to be voting NDP, though in Ontario I think most will stick to their own party (Liberals).

    A conservative majority from Harper is now an impossibility. Much more likely in the weeks or months to come, is an NDP led coalition government in Canada with PM Jack Layton.
    Much as I personally don’t support the NDP itself, this would be a time to truly celebrate—the demise of Stephen Harper in Canada’s politics, and the ultimate defeat of the Conservatives/.

  • Sandra Drake

    pre-writ political advertising must be out-lawed…..

    Mr.Ignatieff has been the subject of character assassination for the past two years, as was his predecessor, both intelligent, honourable Canadians, skewed by a party long on bucks…short on ethics.

    The only ad vaguely comparable was the tory ad insulting Jean Chretien because of his facial birth defect. The pan-Canadian revulsion at this shameful attack on his visage,as opposed to his vision for the country, contributed to Grits winning that election. I was proud to be part of society that knew what fighting fair was all aboutand loudly disapproved of anything less.

    harper’s reform\conserv party has brought Canadians sense of fair-play into disrepute….smear,demonize,impugn motive, and lie about an opponents person, rather than their politics is now the order of the day…..and sadly, seems to meet with enough public approval to win at least minority government status.

    To limit the damage to our civil political discourse, we must create a law to confine character assasination to a, writ-to-election time frame.

  • Naveed

    Sandra Drake, I second your comments!

    Harper and the Conservatives are adept at false attack ads and character assassination. If they do get stopped in their aim for a majority government (or indeed lose eventually to a coalition led government by the NDP), it will be ironic this time that their attacks against Ignatieff, in part helped the NDP to get a resurgence. By reducing Iggy’s true appeal, the Cons helped the way for the NDP to step in instead. Of course there are other reasons for the rise of the NDP (re: Quebec), but character assassination of Iggy and the Liberals plays a factor.

  • Dear readers,

    I am completely against the Conservative party with their lying, secretive, imperealistic “If i can’t have it my way..” ideologies. Personally, I believe that Canadians must vote strategically in order to eliminate the threat of a CPP majority OR minority.

    It is time for change.
    Layton will reform the reformists, bring Canadians together, and bring back the Canada we all knew and loved before the conservative government.

    To all Liberals, our ideals are the same, but, we need your help!
    Vote NDP

  • Angela Browne

    I wonder who paid for the pre-election ads attacking the Liberals. Is this in compliance with election laws?

  • G. Butt

    The time has finially come and Canadians will no longer except the fact that they must Vote Lib. or PC. There is and alternative the NDP. and Jack Layton is the leader of choise for Canadians. In NL. it seem that the PC. Party tried to bring back recyled Politians ( back fire )result 2 NDP and 5 LIB my guess for Newfoundland where I live.

  • jeff

    I agree with david. This NDP vote surge took off after the advance polls opened. It wasn’t #votemob kids at the advance polls!
    2 million people voted during Easter and when the Ekos autodiallers call after you’ve already voted…you hang up.
    The Tories and Libs dropped in the polls and the NDP surged by roughly the same voting percent as advance poll turnout.
    Steve will get a majority and the orange crush will cry.

  • Here’s another scenario that could happen if the trends of the past week continue through the weekend:


  • Naveed

    Canadians are continuing to be fed on fear-mongering by the Harper Conservatives. The only difference with a few days left before voting day, is that the false fear-mongering is now against the resurgent NDP instead of the Liberals.

    Fellow Canadians, there is nothing to fear from the possibility of an NDP coalition government headed by Jack Layton. In fact there would be much to celebrate, and society and policies in Canada very much improved for the average and disadvantaged Canadian citizen. Even the banks have nothing to fear, as the NDP would curb in their socialism, and keep things running fine.

    Don’t be swayed by the innuendos and false statements of Stephen Harper. My word, you should all be used to all his misrepresentations by now, and take them with a grain of salt ie) not believe what he says.

    NDP governments have prospered provincially in Canada, perhaps with one that did not (in Ontario under Bob Rae). But mostly its been successful. Countries around the world in our commonwealth system have had labour, socialist governments and still live to tell the tale! There is no boogie-man or disaster here.

    The only disaster would be a Conservative majority.

  • Stephen

    The polls have been more of a story this election than the election itself. For plenty of good reasons, polls prior to the third week of the campaign mean next to nothing: they are not an indicator of how successful the campaign has been, but only of where the already hardened support of a small percentage of respondents (15-20% at most of those contacted), representing a group skewed in some way intended to vote before the campaign began.

    The polls create movement in the campaign by becoming the subject of intense navel gazing by so-called journalists, with nary an inch of space devoted to analysing the methodology or offering anything than the most superficial interpretations. The NDP surge happened when it did for a variety of reasons, but mostly because when folks started to really be willing to commit based on the campaigns, they found the supposed “good start” of the Liberals to be… pretty empty and somewhat negative. Given that the anti-Harper vote is a vote to eliminate the negativity of the Conservative approach, it makes sense that Layton’s positive message is more attractive. It just took until week 3 before folks started to decide that’s where they wanted to go.

    I’ve generally been a Liberal voter, and probably would do so again if it weren’t wasted in my riding. But I think it’s high time that the party take their lumps and recognize the stupidity of their approaches since 1984, regardless of whether their values make any sense (I think they do, but it’s hard to say because they are so confused at times). You can’t hope to win elections while alienating most regions of the country in turn and doing nothing to win them back. Alberta has voted as a block against Liberals since the mid-1970s. Why don’t the Liberals understand the need to correct this? And they have to offer something to Quebec other than to their core anglo-federalist supporters. Most importantly, they need to be seen to be taking their lumps and accepting the justified mistrust of Canadians over the corruption under Chretien.

    I keep seeing how it will be all over for Ignatieff if they perform as poorly as they have the potential to. It may seem counter intuitive, but I suggest he stay on and fight to really rebuild the party. He shares some of the blame, but a rather small part of it. And what the Liberals need to do is fix things internally more than anything else. Staying, committing himself to working in the trenches, even as the third (or! fourth!) party in the House would earn him some kudos. But he’d have to exercise better leadership with his own troops than he has thus far. The alternative, to pick a fourth new leader in 8 years, would be symptomatic of still not getting it. And Mr. Ignatieff, next time don’t wait 3 years to fight back in a meaningful way.

    My prediction, which is real speculation at this point:
    Cons 136
    Libs 66
    NDP 62
    Bloc 43
    Other 1

  • C Hooymans

    “holding your nose” while blindly voting for Harper’s band of contemptuous liars is the worst choice any honest taxpaying Canadian can make, what message are you sending by doing this?. Spoil your ballot or vote for Green in protest if you simply can not see yourself supporting Jack or Mike.

  • Phil

    This is one die hard Liberal who will be voting NDP. THe liberal campaign was done all wrong and whoever put it together should look for work in a different field. We should all ride the Orange Wave and Crush the blue.

  • Naveed

    Stephen, your commentary is rife with some inaccuracies. The Liberal campaign with hindsight could have gone in some other direction (for example, criticizing the NDP from the beginning!), but overall it has been very ‘proper’, though sadly not effective or connecting with the Canadian public at large. However Michael Ignatieff personally and himself has been making very substantive and cheering speeches, both criticizing the Harper Cons lack of democracy and also the very favourable Liberal platform/policies. The rallies themselves have not lacked in enthusiasm.
    Overall the Liberals this election campaign and the past years have been on track with their policies and vision of the country. You should easily understand as a former Liberal yourself, that we can’t cater in to the specific regions of this country in their self-interest and monopoly, and that Liberals have to lead the broader outlook and the National interest. Caving into Alberta’s demands or those of the Quebec separatists, for example means that we would no longer be a strong and viable national alternative, and indeed not the Liberal party of the likes of Pierre Trudeau or Pearson, if at all a national party worthy of the name.
    Catering to individual interests is not the Liberal game plan. Leading a united country is the goal even if it means crossing the provincial interests.
    Finally as to Iggy personally, he will have to step down if (as seems certain) the Liberals do not come close to the Conservatives, and now end up as third party status.
    I don’t blame Michael Ignatieff for this temporary downfall of the Liberals, or the Liberal vision and policies now or the past few years. I blame Stephen Harper and his false ads and inneundos against the Liberals, and also the voter ignorance of not realizing what a favourable platform the Liberal have, or that they would make the best governing party for this country.
    —and your poll prediction is way out. No way that NDP numbers can be so low, and conversely the Bloc will never get as many as 43 seats, based on the polls they are in for only a handful in Quebec!

  • Stephen

    What riding are you in? I am voting NDP as well, but only because the last election and this campaign have demonstrated that IN MY RIDING, the NDP is likely to win with more votes. The Liberals, on the other hand, are not in it here. However, if I were in any number of ridings across the country, the right thing would be to vote Liberal. I hope your not in Brampton, because I don’t think you’ll feel good about electing Parm Gill or one of the other Tory candidates in adjacent ridings by giving your vote there to the NDP. The riding matters!

  • joeyjoseph

    A Conservative majority? Very unlikely Even with a split vote NDP and Liberals. No Liberal will switch to vote for a Con. What we are seeing is a change in peoples ideology. We have come through the so called recession seeing Many banks and Big Business given tax breaks and money from the governments of Canada and the USA. People are fed up.The Cons and the Liberals are for Big Business. The NDP represents Main Street. Main Street wants their fair share now.Only rightfully so. Harper goofed in that budget by giving Big Business more tax breaks.The only thing that will keep Harper in power is the support of Alberta. After this election it will be Alberta wanting to leave Confederation. I say let them go.Join the States and when oil ceases to be the commodity of choice they will be the peasants of North America.

  • Erik Swanson

    It seems that the various seat projections here depend on what the writer wants to see happen. Wishful thinking will not an outcome make.
    The Conservatives are stalled, NDP are still rising, Libs are collapsing. In Quebec Bloc collapse has stopped but hasn’t turned around either.
    I’m going to be glued to my television set Monday night. This is going to be historic.